France abandons plans to renovate Gare du Nord due to rising costs – .

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France abandons plans to renovate Gare du Nord due to rising costs – .



French national rail operator SNCF has scrapped its controversial renovation project for Europe’s busiest station, Paris Gare du Nord, ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

SNCF, which made the announcement Tuesday evening, blamed the decision on “unacceptable” cost overruns. In July, the prime contractor, Ceetrus, warned that the final bill would be three times previous estimates of 500 million euros.

The move also comes after the contractor warned of “considerable” delays, meaning the new station would not be Olympic-ready as originally planned.

The SNCF subsidiary in charge of stations, SNCF Gares & Connexions, accused Ceetrus of “serious misconduct” and terminated its contract.

The project aimed to triple the size of the station, from which trains leave to Amsterdam, Brussels and London, as well as destinations in northern France.

The mayor of Paris had fiercely criticized the plan to transform a station, long decried as filthy and chaotic, into an important shopping and entertainment center, saying that it would not correspond to the multi-ethnic district of Gare du Nord.

Renowned architects had also slammed the colossal project.

SNCF said it would make a “rapid adaptation” of the station to welcome visitors both for the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympics a year later.

(AFP)

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